The Buzz: The latest Heisman news and views

ESPN Reaches New Multi-Year Agreement with The Heisman Trust – The 86th Annual Heisman Trophy Ceremony to Air January 5

(Disclaimer — The Heisman Trophy Trust and does not endorse any college football player for the Heisman Memorial Trophy. The information contained here serves as a platform of information for fans and media, and is not intended to contain a definitive and comprehensive list of possible contenders.)

Voting is underway for the 2020 Heisman Trophy, kicked off on Dec. 14. Click here for the details on how that works. The voting deadline this year is Dec. 21, finalists will be announced Dec. 24 and the winner will be announced Jan. 5. Click here for more details.

A year ago, Joe Burrow ran away with the Heisman voting. This year, the balloting will likely be tighter as a broad field of Heisman hopefuls finish polishing their resumés with just one week remaining. Let’s start with the nation’s No. 1-ranked team.

Alabama had its way with an overmatched Arkansas team and the offensive touches were spread generously, the stat lines modest. QB Mac Jones (he of the 27-to-3 TD-to-INT ratio) finished with 208 yards on 24-of-29 passing for 208 yards while RB Najee Harris rushed for 46 yards and two TDs. Fun fact, Jones used to idolize a certain Florida Heisman winner.

WR DeVonta Smith – gaining ground in Heisman love – had only three grabs, but scored his first TD on a punt return, 84 yards, prompting the SEC Network to shout him out. His former Crimson Tide WR teammate Henry Ruggs is convinced. So is Fox’s Joel Klatt.

Smith also vaulted into first on The Athletic’s Heisman straw poll, leaping ahead of Jones.

Said Kirk Herbstreit on ESPN’s College GameDay before Saturday’s slate of action:

“I think DeVonta Smith right now, I don’t know if he’s one or two but he’s right there. I want to see how things go next weekend in Atlanta. 80 catches, 1,300 yards, 15 touchdowns. This is an offense that lost (Jerry) Jeudy and Ruggs a year ago (and) (Jaylen) Waddle during the Tennessee game and he just keeps getting better and better. ‘Sark’ and Mac Jones get all the recognition but my man Devonta Smith is having the best year in the country as far as I’m concerned.”

Third on The Athletic’s list is Florida QB Kyle Trask, whose Gators were upset by LSU Saturday. Trask finished with an eye-popping 474 yards and two TDs, though he had two interceptions, too. ESPN’s Paul Finebaum discussed his candidacy.

Trask and highly touted TE Kyle Pitts square off against the Crimson Tide trio in the SEC title game Saturday.

There is no shortage of other QBs playing at high levels who could challenge to be a major player in the upcoming voting, though many were off last week.

Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Notre Dame’s Ian Book were both off Saturdat but are set to square off in the ACC title game. Lawrence and Book are third and fifth, respectively, in this ESPN reporter’s Heisman assessment.

Ohio State’s Justin Fields, a 2019 finalist, missed last week with the Michigan game canceled, but will face Northwestern Saturday in the Big Ten title game. Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder was off for the same reason.

Three who did play and excel included BYU’s Zach Wilson, who helped the Cougars defeat San Diego State, 28-14, with 303 passing yards and three TDs. Meanwhile, USC improved to 5-0 as QB Kedon Slovis threw 5 TDs for the second game in a row to go with 344 yards passing with a 43-38 comeback win over UCLA. Then there was Coastal Carolina QB Grayson McCall, who rallied the Chanticleers for a 42-38 win to keep them unbeaten at 11-0, throwing for 338 yards and three scores.

Back to the RBs, Iowa State’s Breece Hall is fourth on The Athletic’s Heisman list. Off last week, he will lead the Cyclones in the Big 12 title game vs. Oklahoma as he looks to finish strong. So does the newly announced MAC MVP Jaret Patterson.